I’ve been thinking about this a lot just recently, especially in the context of the global pandemic and all that. When did it become so compulsory to get everything right, every time, first time? Why is it such a failure to not be absolutely perfectly correct and flawless? I am sure it wasn’t always so. Perhaps it’s as we’ve got so much more public and permanent. It’s insidious, though; I work with young adults and teenagers and I often hear people my age (40s) muttering darkly about ‘the youth’ and so on – but it’s not just the digital natives. It isn’t. It’s a significant majority of us. Somewhere, a shift happened and whilst there are older folk who don’t feel compelled to share their lives or make comment on things in the online world, that number seems to dwindle. Again, that’s nothing I have any particular feelings about or hold judgement over, but it’s an observation; I wonder if the fear stems, in part, from the constant knowledge that we are being recorded and preserved, for any potential errors or misjudgments or miscommunications to be chewed over, revisited and pored over again, and again, and again.
It’s no surprise that this creeping fear is just that. Look at how we consume our celebrity lives. Look how many are famous for a short time and then vanish once all the interest has been gobbled up and regurgitated a finite number of times for our entertainment and interest. It’s no wonder that in the backs of our minds we start to get the idea that perhaps we wouldn’t like to have to endure such a Prometheus-like punishment for any tiny perceived shortcoming.
Anyway. Media or no media, permanent public display or no, there’s a sense of shame in not being right and it’s something that we learn. At one of the very first circles that I sat in, I had a real epiphany which was ‘how would it have felt for me to learn things without feeling ashamed that I didn’t already know them?’ Now where did that illogical feeling about the acquisition of knowledge come from? What a terrible burden of pressure to be under.
Anyway it’s just food for thought, for me at least – a little nibble. Perhaps it’s the end of a noodle that I might be chewing my way down for a while. I’ll report back.